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A Lesson in Leaving

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I left my brokerage today. It was a difficult decision which I have struggled with for several months. I probably made it harder than it was, because I had relationships I didn’t want to leave and I was comfortable there. 
 
As I packed up the few things from my office and said good bye to some friends, I sensed they thought I was making a huge mistake. I’m sure in their mind, I did. I’m alright with that, though. 
One common thread which has comsistently permeated every conversation I have had with other agents who I have talked to about my decision to leave and move on, was how can you be sure it’s a good move for you. I really got to the point where I was beginning to doubt I could make the decision.
 
We have experienced brokerages closing and merging in the past year, including mine, leaving some agents forced to make a move. Other than being forced, most seem to be okay where they are. I wonder though, is okay enough? Is comfortable a good enough resaon to stay? Many just want to stay and wait for the market to turn around or for things to be the way they used to be. They sit in their office and do the same thing they have done for years, with no progress.
 
I don’t now yet if my decision was the best one for me. I believe it is. One thing I do know, I stepped out of my comfort zone and it feels good. It feels challenging!  Whether it involves a physical move or a move toward trying something new, I wish a few more of my peers would step out with me. Comfortable is easy; stepping out and making the move is invigorating!

Paula is team leader for The "Home to Indy" Team in Indianapolis . She is passionate about education and client care and believes an empowered client is better prepared to make good decisions for themselves. You'll find her online at Agent Genius,Twitter and sharing her insights about her local real estate market at Home To Indy.

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Heather Elias

    November 20, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Paula,
    I left mine on Monday! Same sort of reactions. While I have made a switch in the past, I found myself nearly paralyzed with anxiety this time around, wondering if I was making the right choice. It remains to be seen for the long term, but I can say in the short term that I am waking up looking forward to a new day, with enthusiasm..and that’s a heck of a good start. Invigorating is a great word!

    Best wishes to you, we’ll start a new journey together! =)

  2. Ken Brand

    November 20, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    I’m sure you made the right decision, especially if you believe and act like it.

    I attended a Leadership Workshop this week and the speaker (Mike Sarver – go listen to him if you ever can) said the following about the Comfort Zone. I’m paraphrasing, “Stepping outside our comfort zone isn’t easy, it’s hard, but but doing so expands your comfort zone. While we sit staus-quo in the comfort zone, it shrinks”

    Rock on the best wishes.

  3. Maureen Francis

    November 20, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Change is rarely comfortable but it helps us to grow. Congratulations on your move.

  4. Missy Caulk

    November 20, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Paula, where did you go? I know you’ve been thinking about it for a long time so you will have relief just to making up your mind.

    I’m sure it will be fine.

  5. Jim Gatos

    November 21, 2008 at 5:31 am

    I “flipped” around 6 or 7 times myself but when I did, the choice of agencies were very limited, very cut throat and just pretty week. It probably would’ve been better to open up my own but then virtual offices were unheard of. I’d like to know where you went too…

  6. Paula Henry

    November 21, 2008 at 5:57 am

    Heather – Thank You! Congratulations on your move! It is difficult, it would have been so much easier to stay. To say I was paralyzd with anxiety is putting it mildly. I actually made the decision once before, then changed my mind. It is a huge relief to have finally let go and move forward. Now, to go order signs 🙂

  7. Paula Henry

    November 21, 2008 at 6:02 am

    Ken – ah, you are a man of wisdom! Believing and acting like my decision is a good one has been key. I have flipped back and forth on this decision and now I do feel good about it.

    I love your paraphrase.It’s true – many agents have said to me, they don’t want to learn new ways of doing business and their comfort zone is shrinking.

  8. Paula Henry

    November 21, 2008 at 6:11 am

    Maureen – Growth is exactly what I need!

    Missy – I decided to go to Keller Williams. A pivotal factor was my previous broker at my first RE/MAX here is now the
    Operating Broker at this KW. Thanks for the conversations and encouragement!

  9. Paula Henry

    November 21, 2008 at 6:19 am

    Jim – It is hard! I have flipped back and forth on this decision for awhile. When my RE/MAX merged, they did so with an office in a smaller town outside of Indianapolis. Many times, I heard the phrase, oh, you’re all the way out there?

    Virtual is not quite as common here as it is in some bigger cities.Someday, I may be my own broker, just not yet.

  10. Jason Sandquist

    November 21, 2008 at 8:47 am

    I switched brokers on Wednesday. Nothing against the old broker, there was something that intrigued me about the new company and I just had to try it out.

  11. Paula Henry

    November 21, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Jason – My immense respect for both brokers is what has made this a dificult decision.
    Good Luck on your move!

  12. Mark Storolis

    November 21, 2008 at 9:58 am

    I disagree Paula. Moving to a new brokerage, does not a good agent make. “Comfort zones” are not barriers, they are habits. And habits do not change by joining a new team. Pick up a copy of Ralph Roberts “Walk Like a Giant and Sell Like a Madman” pages 39-42 – see a thorough explanation why changing brokerage causes more harm than good. The grass is rarely greener.

  13. Ken Brand

    November 21, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Mark, Could be a mistake, could be the greatest thing that ever happened, time will tell. As you point out, “Rarely” is the key work, not “Never”. My experience is that agents that join our team from another “usually” do much better.

    Brokerages have varied cultures and images, and tools and systems, leadership and technologies. When someone considers all aspects and decides to align in a new way, that’s a positive. Habits can change and comfort zones can expand when immersed and influenced by a new culture.

    Moving doesn’t make you bad or good, how you deliver, grow, act, walk and talk make you and the decesion good or bad.

    Only time will tell.

    My 5cents.

  14. Mark Storolis

    November 21, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Yes Ken, you are getting to the heart of the matter. The opportunity for growth must come from within the individual. Immersing oneself in a new community can have motivational effects, but I argue that those effects are short-lived and ineffective at best. Bad agents at a bad company will also be bad agents at a good company. I have watched too many agents jump the fence and simply frustrate themselves. Individuals excel through individual performance – not by association.

  15. Jim Gatos

    November 21, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Well, I’m very happy where I am. I did try another agency for 2 years but went back to Coldwell Banker. I do agree with Mark S, though. Too many changes can be a bad thing.

  16. Ken Brand

    November 21, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    I’m with you Mark, making changes as an excuse will not work. Making changes as part of a well though out strategy for growth and opportunity works well. I wrote a blog post this week on Excuse Tourettes. https://budurl.com/rz4y

  17. Danilo Bogdanovic

    November 21, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Everything happens for a reason…Sure it’ll prove to be a great move and that’ll do better than ever!

  18. Bridget Magnus

    November 21, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Wow, you described my day pretty well….

  19. Nickie Rothwell

    November 21, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Hi Paula and congratulations!

    Making a change after so many years can be scary, but clearly you have been wanting change for some time.

    It sounds like a very exciting time for you! I believe you will do well wherever you are.

    Best wishes to you as you follow this new path!

  20. teresa boardman

    November 22, 2008 at 5:59 am

    I remember when I left Coldwell Banker. I got the lecture from people in the office about what a mistake it was to leave. The office I worked out of is no more. They closed and the agents were absorbed by other offices.

  21. Ginger Wilcox

    November 22, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Paula- it sounds like you put a lot of thought into this move. Moving brokerages is never easy. I made a move that was a mistake when I first moved into a new real estate market (had worked in another state). I lived with my decision for a year, watched my business suffer, and finally made another move, which equaled three in a short time. It was the best decision I could have ever made. While I agree with Mark, there are times when a move does make good sense.
    Best of luck to you at your new brokerage!

  22. Vicki Lloyd

    November 22, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    I have changed offices a few times in the last 15 years. Each time was for a different reason, but once I made up my mind, I felt very energized to make the change, and each time I did it, my business improved because my attitude did.

    KW has a good business model and I spent 4 years with one of their offices. Each office is a little different because it is franchaised and each office and regional owner has a slightly different perception.

    If your goals are parallel to theirs, you will do well and be happy. If not, you will learn more about what you really want an office to be for you.

    Good luck on your new adventure!

  23. Jonathan Dalton

    November 23, 2008 at 11:54 am

    I had the same thing as Teresa, more or less. The company’s still there, the office out of which I worked was closed two months after I left ostensibly because of a lease dispute. Agents were dispersed to one of two other offices, neither particularly close.

    When I made the move in January, there was more than a little anxiety attached. I had become accustomed to life on my former company’s relocation wheel and wasn’t sure if I’d make it solo.

    After posting the best year I’ve had for sales, commissions, etc. there’s not the slightest question I made the right decision. Though the change in business was less due to the new brokerage than a change in my own habits caused by the break.

    Good luck, Paula … you’ll be dine.

  24. Ruthmarie Hicks

    November 23, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Paula,
    This is interesting,
    When I left my first brokerage – I was told I was making a big mistake. It was in 2006 and thing had just started slowing down. It was the atmosphere and the sense that it was a brokerage mired in the boom that made me do it.

    The brokerage I went to actually DID fold – but at least they had some better ideas. But they were too small to survive the downturn. The original brokerage seems to be struggling with high overhead and far fewer agents. Many of the people who told me I was making a mistake are GONE. Most were absorbed by other brokerages.

    I too am at Keller Williams. If your office is as well run as mine is, it will be a good move for you.

  25. Vicki Moore

    November 24, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    So what if you made a mistake. We make decisions based on the information we have at the time. Don’t like it? Go back.

    Could be change is just what you need. It’s done. So go enjoy it!

  26. Paula Henry

    January 23, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Darn Vickie – Were you psychic?

    Has it really been two months?

    About half way through the comments here, I decided the move was not a good fit for me. Was it a move for the sake of moving – I don’t know. Even with all my considerable thought, it just didn’t feel right.

    I hung on a couple more months and have now made a move I can live with – and am excited about – not for the sake of moving.

    Simply, I found a broker(independent) whose marketing and online strategies are more aligned with mine. Honestly, it may be harder work, for now. It is quite rewarding planning an online strategy, combined with offline networking with someone who “gets it”.

    Thanks to each of you for your comments and support.

  27. Jim Gatos

    January 23, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    I just went back to Keller Williams. 2.5 years of Coldwell Banker and I’m outta here.. LOL…

    I’ve always loved the KW model, They had problems, yes, but they ironed most of them away. I like owning my own business..

  28. Vicki Moore

    January 23, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    I wish! Congratulations.

  29. Paula Henry

    January 24, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Jim –

    Well, I’m happy to see I’m not the only one who has changed again:) Good Luck at KW!

    If our RE/MAX offices had never merged, I would probably still be with the RE/MAX I started with here in Indy.

    Live and learn!

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Opinion Editorials

Can we combat grind culture and injustice with a nap?

(OPINION EDITORIALS) A global pandemic and a climate of racial injustice may require fresh thinking and a new approach from what grind culture has taught us.

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Sleeping cat with plant, fighting grind culture.

Information is delivered to us at warp speed with access to television, radio, and the internet (and more specifically, social media). We are inundated with messages. Oftentimes they’re personalized by something that a friend or family shared. Other times we manage them for work, school, or just keeping up with news. Many entrepreneurs already wear many hats and burn the midnight oil.

During this global pandemic, COVID-19, we have also seen a rise in awareness and attention to social injustice and systemic racism. This is not a new concept, as we all know. But it did feel like the attention was advanced exponentially by the murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day 2020. Many people and entrepreneurs felt called to action (or at least experienced self-reflection). And yet they were working at all hours to evolve their businesses to survive. All of this happening simultaneously may have felt like a struggle while they tried to figure out exactly they can do.

There are some incredible thought leaders – and with limited time, it can be as simple as checking them out on Instagram. These public figures give ideas around what to be aware of and how to make sure you are leveling up your awareness.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Director of the Center for Antiracist Research – he has been studying anti-racism and has several books and interviews that help give language to what has been happening in our country for centuries. His content also delves into why and how white people have believed they are more than people of color. Here is a great interview he did with Brené Brown on her Unlocking Us podcast.

Tamika Mallory – American activist and one of the leading organizers of the 2017 Women’s March. She has been fighting for justice to be brought upon the officers that killed Breonna Taylor on March 13. These are among other efforts around the country to push back on gun control, feminist issues, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brené Brown – research professor at the University of Houston and has spent the last two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She has been listening and engaging on how racism and our shame intersect. She also speaks about how people can reflect on themselves and where they can take action to better our society. She has some antiracism resources on her website.

With all of this information and the change in our daily routines and work habits (or business adjustments), what is a fresh approach or possibly a new angle that you haven’t been able to consider?

There is one social channel against grind culture that may not be as well-known. At an initial glance, you may even perceive this place as a spoof Twitter and Instagram that is just telling you to take a nap. But hold on, it’s actually much smarter than that. The description says “We examine the liberating power of naps. We believe rest is a form of resistance and reparations. We install Nap Experiences. Founding in 2016.”

It might be a great time for you to check out The Nap Ministry, inspired by Tricia Hersey. White people are called to action, and people of color are expressly told to give time to taking care of themselves. Ultimately, it goes both ways – everyone needs the time to recharge and recuperate. But people of color especially are being told to value their rest more than the grind culture. Yes, you’re being told you need to manage your mental health and include self-care in your schedule.

Through The Nap Ministry, Tricia “examines rest as a form of resistance by curating safe spaces for the community to rest via Collective Napping Experiences, immersive workshops, and performance art installations.”

“In this incredibly rich offering, we speak with Tricia on the myths of grind culture, rest as resistance, and reclaiming our imaginative power through sleep. Capitalism and white supremacy have tricked us into believing that our self-worth is tied to our productivity. Tricia shares with us the revolutionary power of rest.” They have even explored embracing sleep as a political act.

Let this allow you to take a deep breath and sigh – it is a must that you take care of yourself to take care of your business as well as your customers and your community. And yes, keep your drive and desire to “get to work”. But not at your expense for the old grind culture narrative.

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Opinion Editorials

The actual reasons people choose to work at startups

(EDITORIAL) Startups have a lot going for them, environment, communication, visible growth. But why else would you work for one?

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Startups meeting led by Black woman.

Startups are perpetually viewed as the quintessential millennial paradise with all of the accompanying perks: Flexible hours, in-house table tennis, and long holidays. With this reputation so massively ingrained in the popular perception of startups, is it foolish to think that their employees actually care about the work that startup companies accomplish?

Well, yes and no.

The average startup has a few benefits that traditional business models can’t touch. These benefits often include things like open communication, a relaxed social hierarchy, and proximity to the startup’s mission. That last one is especially important: While larger businesses keep several degrees of separation between their employees and their end goals, startups put the stakes out in the open, allowing employees to find personal motivation to succeed.

When employees find themselves personally fulfilled by their work, that work reaps many of the benefits in the employee’s dedication, which in turn helps the startup propagate. Many aspiring startup employees know this and are eager to “find themselves” through their work.

Nevertheless, the allure of your average startup doesn’t always come from the opportunity to work on “something that matters.”

Tiffany Philippou touches on this concept by pointing out that “People come to work for you because they need money to live… [s]tartups actually offer pretty decent salaries these days.”

It’s true that many employees in their early to late twenties will likely take any available job, so assuming that your startup’s 25-and-under employee base is as committed to finding new uses for plastic as you are may be a bit naïve—indeed, this is a notion that holds true for any business, regardless of size or persuasion.

However, startup experience can color a young employee’s perception of their own self-worth. This allows them to pursue more personally tailored employment opportunities down the road—and that’s not a bad legacy to have.

Additionally, startups often offer—and even encourage—a level of personal connection and interactivity that employees simply won’t find in larger, more established workplaces. That isn’t symptomatic of startups being too laid-back or operating under loosely defined parameters. Instead, it’s a clue that work environments that facilitate personalities rather than rote productivity may stand to get more out of their employees.

Finally, your average startup has a limited number of spots, each of which has a clearly defined role and a possibility for massive growth. An employee of a startup doesn’t typically have to question their purpose in the company—it’s laid out for them; who are we to question their dedication to fulfilling it?

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Opinion Editorials

How Peloton has developed a cult-following

(OPINION EDITORIALS) How has Peloton gotten so popular? Turns out there are some clear takeaways from the bike company’s wildly successful model.

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Man riding Peloton bike with instructor pointing encouragingly during workout.

Peloton is certainly not the first company to gain a cult-like following–in the past we’ve talked about other brands with similar levels of devotion, like Crossfit and Yeti. Now, full disclosure: I’m not an exercise buff, so while I’d vaguely heard of Peloton–a company that sells stationary bikes–I had no idea it was such a big deal.

I mean, it’s not really surprising that an at-home bike that offers the option for cycling classes has grown so much during the pandemic era (a sales growth of 172% to be exact). But Peloton has been highly popular within its fanbase for years now. So, what gives? A few factors, actually.

Vertical Integration

If your company really wants to guarantee the vision and quality you’re aiming for, one of the best ways to enact it is through vertical integration, where a company owns or controls more than one part of its supply chain. Take Netflix, for example, which not only distributes media, but creates original media. Vertical integration lets companies bypass areas that are otherwise left to chance with third-party suppliers.

Peloton uses vertical integration–everything from the bike to its Wi-Fi connected tablet to the classes taught are created by Peloton. Although this may have made the bike more expensive than other at-home exercise bikes, it has also allowed Peloton to create higher quality products. And it’s worked. Many people who start on a Peloton bike comment on how the machine itself is well-built.

Takeaway: Are there any parts of your business process that you can improve in-house, rather than outsourcing?

Going Live

But with people also shelling out $40 a month for access to the training regimen Peloton provides, there’s more going on than simply high-quality craftsmanship.

Hey, plenty of cults have charismatic leaders, and Peloton is no exception. Okay, joking about the cult leader part, but really, people love their trainers. Just listen to this blogger chat about some of her favorites; people are connecting with this very human element of training. So much so that many people face blowback when suggesting they might like training without the trainers!

The trainers are only part of this puzzle though–attending live classes is a large draw. Well, as live as something can be when streamed into your house. Still, with classmate usernames and stats available while you ride, and teachers able to respond in real time to your “class,” this can simulate an in-person class without the struggle of a commute.

Takeaway: People want to see the human side of a business! Are there any ways your company could go live and provide that connection?

Getting Competitive

Pandemic aside, you can get a decent bike and workout class at an actual gym. But the folks at Peloton have one other major trick up their sleeve: Competition. Whether you’re attending a live session or catching up on a pre-recorded ride, you’re constantly competing against each other and your own records.

These leaderboards provide a constant stream of goals while you’re working out. Small accomplishments like these can help boost your dopamine, which can be the burst of good feeling you need while your legs are burning mid-workout. With this in mind, it’s no wonder why Peloton fans might be into it.

Takeaway: Is there a way to cater to your audience’s competitive side?

Conclusion

At the end of the day, of course, Peloton also has the advantage of taking a unique idea (live-streamed cycle classes built into your at-home bike) and doing it first. Plus, they just happened to be poised to succeed during a quarantine. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from what Peloton is doing right to build your own community of fanatics. There are plenty of people out there just waiting to get excited about a brand like yours!

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